Africa and the West: a contested dialogue in modern and contemporary ceramics

Bagley, Kim (2014) Africa and the West: a contested dialogue in modern and contemporary ceramics. UNSPECIFIED thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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This practice-led research in the field of handmade ceramics explores what Africa means and how it is represented in ceramic practice. This is addressed through two research questions. The first is how can ceramics be used to picture, interpret and understand contemporary Africa? The second is what does 'Africa' or 'African-ness' mean in modern and contemporary ceramic practice set in various contexts, institutional and otherwise? The two questions address the construction and representation of African-ness respectively. There are many different grounds for understanding African-ness which are explored in detail. The critical approach is drawn from postcolonial theory and covers ceramic practice from mid-century to the present in South Africa, Nigeria and the United Kingdom. The research was conducted by a ceramicist with other makers in mind. A number of detailed examples or case studies are explored in writing, making and displaying ceramics. This includes the researcher's own ceramic practice which functions as both a case study and an investigation in itself. As an investigation, the theme of clay-as-skin was tested as an example of an appropriate metaphor for expressing ideas about African-ness using ceramics. The practice extends and has a reiterative relationship to the written work. The outcome of the research is the observation of a general shift from a negative or simplified perception to a more positive and complex view of this heterogenous and multi-faceted area of creative expression. Hybridity, multiplicity, historical reference and anthropomorphism were commonly found in contemporary African ceramics, particularly at intersections of Africa and the West. The research contributes a better understanding of changes to the representation and understanding of African-ness. This was achieved through the critical discussion of an original combination of literature, exhibitions and displays of ceramics, ceramic objects and the identities of ceramists. While this research offers many examples, including the reseacher's own practice, there are still not enough examples and different perspectives available.

Item Type: Thesis
Members: University for the Creative Arts
Depositing User: ULCC Admin
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2016 12:57
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2016 12:57

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